Craig man dies in early morning highway incident
State patrol identifies victim as Justin Dean Bliss
A 34-year-old Craig resident died Tuesday morning after being hit by a semitrailer on U.S. Highway 40 in Craig, the Colorado State Patrol reported.
Troopers reported that Justin Dean Bliss was walking east at about 5:15 a.m. on the highway’s northern shoulder near mile marker 89, when part of a semitrailer heading west struck him.
The vehicle, driven by Craig resident Nicholas Anthony Peroulis, was carrying a wide-load and had an escort vehicle following it, the state patrol reported. It was traveling from Craig to Utah.
Part of the load apparently hung over the road’s shoulder and struck Bliss, trooper Rick Kaspar said.
Bliss was taken to The Memorial Hospital in Craig. He was pronounced dead at 5:37 a.m., according to the state patrol.
The state patrol is leading the investigation.
Kaspar reported Tuesday afternoon he’s uncertain where Bliss was walking to in the early morning hours.
Peroulis was the only person inside the semitrailer at the time of the accident. He was not injured.
The state patrol reported that Peroulis has been issued a summons for careless driving causing death, a misdemeanor.
“We don’t believe it was reckless in nature,” Kaspar said. “Our investigation hasn’t shown that he was speeding, or that drugs or alcohol were involved or anything other than it was a careless act that caused the death of Mr. Bliss.”
Weather also is not suspected to be a factor, as the roads were clear and visibility was not an issue, Kaspar said.
“It was cold, obviously,” he said. “It wasn’t icy and there were no road conditions that would have contributed to this.”
The incident limited traffic in the area to one shared lane for both directions of the highway.
Traffic returned to normal around 11:15 a.m., Kaspar said.
Toxicology reports for Bliss were unavailable and the state patrol’s investigation is ongoing.
The Craig Police Department, Craig Fire/Rescue, Craig Public Works and hospital EMS also responded to the scene Tuesday morning.
An officer with the Steamboat Springs Police Department was fired Wednesday amid a criminal investigation of a domestic violence incident in June.